Preliminary data shows the fatal accident rate has risen in 2015

Deadly car accidents have increased in 2015.

According to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rate of deadly car accidents on our nation's roads rose sharply in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same time last year. Data reveals the number of fatal car crashes rose more than eight percent, and the fatal accident rate rose over four percent per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The year 2014 had represented another period of falling injury-causing and fatal accident rates, but data collected shows 2015 bucking that trend so far.

What's causing the increase?

There is no singular cause of the increase in fatal accidents, just as there is no single cause of the accidents themselves. That being said, the National Safety Council (NSC) does report that a whopping 94 percent of all car accidents involve what they call a "human factor." That phrase is inclusive of all manner of driver and passenger behaviors and actions that can influence the number of accidents and the survivability of them, including:

  • Distracted driving, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of all accident fatalities (representing nearly 3,200 people in 2014)
  • Drunk driving, representing a full one-third of deadly accidents (almost 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes last year)
  • "Drowsy driving" (driving while fatigued), which accounts for nearly three percent of fatal crashes, representing at least 840 people in 2014
  • Not wearing a helmet while riding or operating a motorcycle contributed to more than 1,560 deaths (fatal motorcycle accidents are more likely in states that don't have helmet laws; Massachusetts actually requires that all riders and passengers, including those in sidecars "wear protective head gear" - see Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 7 for more information)
  • Not "buckling up" accounts for nearly half of all car accident-related fatalities; the survivability rate while wearing a seat belt is more than twice that of vehicle occupants who aren't restrained

What can you do?

By making good choices, you can decrease the chances that you will be involved in an injury-causing or fatal motor vehicle accident. For example, you should avoid driving after you have been drinking, and you shouldn't get in the car while someone who is intoxicated is behind the wheel. Whether you are driving or are a passenger, you should always wear your seat belt. If you haven't gotten adequate sleep, do your best not to drive, and if you find yourself getting drowsy on the road, pull over for a while to rest. These simple actions can greatly improve your chances of arriving at your destination safely.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, there is a good chance you could still be involved in a car accident due to the bad choices or negligence of another person. If you have been hurt - or you have tragically lost someone you love - in a crash, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation. To learn more about your legal rights, contact the Worcester, Massachusetts, Law Offices of Joseph J. Cariglia. The firm can be reached toll-free at 866-491-6561, locally at 508-762-4327 or via email.